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The Arts, Children, Giving ... and Receiving!

Each year Eagle sponsors a very special event called the Young Authors and Illustrators Conference. It is a children's event where this year 670 children each got to spend a day with "real" authors and illustrators, learning about their craft.

So what ... you might say? How is that different from a day at school? What relevance does that have on a "business" blog?

1. MASC, the people who organize the event provide me with a report after the event, and include a sample of the 670 hand written cards from the participants. Comments like "Thanks you from the bottom of my heart ..."; "You have made a lot of kids dreams come true!"; lots of words like "awesome", "special", "amazing"; are all indicators of what this kind of event means to these children.

So ... one lesson from this blog to other company leaders is to give back to your community! It makes a difference, it is your responsibility, it is rewarding and your community benefits.

2. When I read those handwritten cards (last year one of them thanked "Dee Dawg"!) I can literally feel the enthusiasm. Some of the cards have drawings or use colours, others have well thought out messages, all demonstrating the creative side of the conference attendees. These children are our future, they will be the people running our companies and governments in years to come. It is important that we equip them with the tools to do the job ... some of the things they learned through this conference included:

Passion. I talk about this a lot, but unless you can get passionate about something then you are not going to make a difference. These kids demonstrated passion, in spades!
Creativity. In all aspects of life, and especially in business, creativity is a huge asset. The arts are a great way to develop that "right brain" capability. The arts are also an area that more and more is being underfunded and under appreciated.
Commitment. All of the kids who attended this conference needed to apply and convince their school that they were worthy of missing a day of regular classes. I guess they needed to demonstrate some sales skills to achieve that!

Eagle has sponsored this event for a number of years but this was the first year that I have actually been able to make it to the event personally. As expected, it was fun and exciting to see such enthusiasm and energy amongst a large group of children. With all of the positives attached to this conference I will add the "feel good" grin I enjoyed as I read those cards on Friday ... hence this blog entry!